It is the third preseason game. There is a certain amount of excitement which accompanies the football game which experts dub the "final dress rehearsal" before the regular season, even if it is a meaningless exhibition. However, if you haven't been glued to the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, and other preseason news, but want to know who to keep an eye on in the game Friday night, we've got you covered.
Here are 5 offensive players to keep an eye on in the game down in the Big Easy. Keep in mind the focus of this task was based on the players who will still see significant playing time in the third preseason game.
Ben Roethlisberger - QB - No. 7
Say it with me, "Just stay healthy. Just stay healthy. Just stay healthy."
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, it will be worth watching Roethlisberger on Friday night, and not just to hope and pray he stays healthy, but to see what he does with this offense. Roethlisberger is one of the best in the business, but he has yet to take a snap in the preseason and it will be a welcome sight to see Roethlisberger do what he does best, and that is orchestrate a lethal offense up and down the field with relative ease.
Antonio Brown - WR - No. 84
Leaving out the same mantra quoted underneath Roethlisberger's name above, Antonio Brown continues to be as dominant as ever. The main question surrounding him, and the team's offense, is how will he do without Martavis Bryant opposite him on a regular basis. Will defenses try to bracket him in coverage, or will players like Darrius Heyward-Bey, Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates do enough to give Brown the space he needs to be as dominant as ever? This will worth watching...even in the preseason.
Le'Veon Bell - RB - No. 26
The last time fans saw Le'Veon Bell in a Steelers uniform, he was wearing the bumblebee uni and was being tackled by Vontaze Burfict at Heinz Field. That was before the midway point of the 2015 season, and in between that and where we are on August 26th, 2016, a lot has happened. Bell had to undergo surgery, rehabbed the injury and then got suspended for the first 3 games of 2016 (maybe not all in that order). Anyways, it is time for Bell to remind everyone he is well worth the price of admission, and the most dynamic back in the game. He won't see much time, but seeing him take some hits, and cut on that knee, will be something to watch.
DeAngelo Williams - RB - No. 34
Yes, there are players fighting for their professional careers, but there are also players on the team who haven't seen the field this preseason, and won't again until the team's regular season opener against Washington. Williams would be one of those players, and for someone who will have to carry the team's rushing attack for the first three weeks, he will be someone to keep an eye on. Some may forget, but Williams also ended the season injured, and he will have to knock the rust off with his only extended playing time of the preseason.
Jesse James - TE - No. 81
James has had mixed reviews throughout the preseason, and he needs to find a level of consistency in both run and pass blocking for the team to be confident in his abilities moving forward. In the offseason, it was expected James would split time with Ladarius Green, but with Green still on the PUP list, it is a combination of James, David Johnson, Roosevelt Nix and Xavier Grimble. Nix won't be playing Friday night, so James will get a lot of repetitions in hopes of improving his overall game as the regular season quickly approaches.